If you are like most people, one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthy. The good news is that you can still enjoy your favorite cuisines while meeting that goal. We love Indian cuisine in our family, so I decided to search out healthy dishes at some of our newest locations. First I did a bit of research:
Tandoori is one of the healthiest options and it is all because of the way the food is prepared. The spicy meat dishes are prepared through grilling in clay ovens known as Tandoor stoves. The meats are charcoal-grilled at high temperatures, and you can choose chicken, fish or even vegetables to maintain your healthy diet. The fact that the ingredients are not fried means that you do not have to worry about excess fat.
The healthy eating matra “eat a rainbow” is also easy to follow at Indian restaurants. This statement is often made to kids to encourage them to keep a variety of nutrients in their diets. Indian cuisine offers a plethora of color in the recipes.
Tumeric is a great example of an ingredient that adds not just color to dishes like curry, but is also one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence. Many high quality studies show that it has major benefits for your body and brain. See more at this link: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/.
Kalia Indian Cuisine, a well established restaurant in Greenwood, opened a second location closer to us, located at 4520 200th St. S.W., in Lynnwood. Another little gem in a strip mall, it offers many healthy and tasty options for eating wisely.
The menu calls out items that are gluten free. Many entrees are vegetarian too, although a bit of reading is required to determine if that guideline is met.
Kalia Indian Cuisine is a small location. Do not let the lack of décor put you off.
The owners are brothers and offer their philosophy on food served at both locations: “We are health conscious when preparing our food, so we use vegetable oils only, no MSG and offer low cholesterol dishes.”
The modest buffet offers fewer choices than other restaurants, but the selection varies each day so a return visit gives opportunity to try multiple dishes.
Stationed at the end of the buffet line is a huge rice steamer, and an engaging gentleman is there to greet diners. Language barrier was diminished by his warm smile.
Thorough research means I should try as many different dishes as possible. A lunch buffet, when offered, is kinder to my waistline and my pocketbook. I applied this practice and was pleased with the results, but will offer this advice: The level of spice in the buffet dishes is set lower than most places I’ve tasted.
On my next visit, I chose individual entrees and asked for “more stars.” I was pleased with the results. Rice comes with all entrees, which is a bonus.
Rogan Josh–spectacular. This dish begins with braised lamb chunks cooked with a gravy base on browned onions or shallots, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices (cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon). Since the sauce is yogurt based, it’s healthier too.
Goat Curry–just amazing. Cooked in an onion, garlic and ginger sauce with fresh tomatoes. It has a non-cream sauce, so for meat eaters, it’s a great choice.
Another bonus at the Lynnwood location is entertainment in the form of belly dancing on the second Sunday of every month. Dancing begins at 7 p.m.
More choices a short drive up the I-5.
There’s a story behind this next review. I’ll explain why I must let readers know about a restaurant slightly outside of my usual territory.
On a recent trip back from the airport, we rode in a town car with a gentleman who looked very familiar. Our discussion revolved around home remedies like herbal teas for colds and flu. The man mentioned herbal tea made from roots like turmeric and ginger. “Fresh is best,” he said, “sliced up into hot tea.”
“We’ve got lots of turmeric in our diet.” I shared that our family loved Indian Cuisine and dined on it frequently.
He mentioned his brother, a chef of Indian cuisine, had restaurants. Had we ever dined at Sahib, when it was open in Edmonds? Did we know of Chutneys in Wallingford? Both were restaurants owned and operated by his brother before he passed away.
It all came together. Sahib is where we’d met, on many occasions. I offered my sympathies and expressed how much we had enjoyed his brother’s delicious dishes.
Curious, I asked, “Where do you go for good Indian food these days?”
“Obviously home-cooked is best,” he smiled. He then recommended a small unobtrusive restaurant in the Mill Creek Town Center called The Clay Pit. “Almost as good as my brother’s cooking” he said.
No further recommendation was needed. The next day, we drove to The Clay Pit, located at 15418 Main St, Ste. M-107, in Mill Creek. We arrived in time for the lunch buffet.
Start with the soup: seafood with squid tentacles, small tender clams and shrimp floated with potatoes in a fragrant and well seasoned broth. Great way to perk up my taste buds.
A platter full of sizzling veggies greeted next as we stepped further into the buffet line.
Vegetarians listen up: Clay Pit has created colorful options of typical meat dishes.
Vegetable korma: Vegetables finished with a rich, nutty curry cream sauce with paneer (Indian fresh-made cheese).
Mattar paneer or aloo mattar: Freshly made Indian cheese or potatoes cooked with green peas, onions and tomatoes.
Tikka masala: Is offered with paneer (cheese) in place of chicken for vegetarians, though the traditional chicken version is also available. The sauce of pureed tomatoes, ginger, garlic, red chili powder and a bit of cream is delicious on either dish.
Mushroom mutter: The turmeric based sauce is golden yellow and so tasty.
Tandori cauliflower: Composed of beautiful and delicious bright red morsels.
Saag pakora: Spicy spinach with vegetables instead of the cheese, so vegans, yes, there is fare for you.
The naan (bread), offered in a very hot steaming pan, was well-seasoned–not the usual plain variety that lays out getting cold.
Meat items are equally tasty and interesting.
Kashmiri meatballs: Wonderful texture, super lean and incredibly delicious.
Coconut chicken curry: Lean chunks of white meat, sauced in a golden curry.
Veggie pakora curry: Coconut based, golden yellow and tasty as well. No trouble eating the rainbow at this establishment.
Condiments are always my favorite part, and the buffet offered plenty of options.
Raitia: fresh shredded cucumber and carrot, tangy from the yogurt dressing and a spicy kick from the pan-roasted coriander seeds.
Mint and jalapeno: Emerald green cool and spicy, all in the same bite.
Tamarind: Garnet red in color and a sweet, hot, slightly smoky taste. Adds a kick to any of the milder dishes.
Chai tea arrived to the table unsweetened, and I found it a major plus to be able to use honey or raw sugar to my taste. The foam on the top of the cup indicated freshly steamed milk too.
Love those restaurant review suggestions. Keep ‘em coming by sending an email or leaving a comment below.
— By Kathy Passage
A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the local food and restaurant scene.